#2.1 Introduction to menopause symptoms

The first thing that springs to mind as a we approach our Years of Change is how will it feel? Is it going to be as terrible as everyone makes out? Are all the things you’ve heard really going to happen to you? Will you get hot flushes, brain fog, feel irritable, put on weight?

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We can probably remember seeing women older than ourselves getting red in the face, suddenly fanning themselves with the nearest magazine and looking flustered. I don’t think we ever imagine that we could be that woman one day - until it hits….IF IT DOES!

Not all women suffer with symptoms!
And if you are already going through the perimenopause and noticing some symptoms, what can you do about them?
Why am I aching so much? Will I ever sleep again? How am I supposed to get through a working day feeling so tired? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

I think we all worry about what it’s going to be like and how long we are going to be dealing with unwelcome symptoms. It’s easy to get stressed when symptoms strike. As stress is one of the biggest drivers of symptoms that’s not very useful! So it’s always helpful to be armed with some information that may help, which is what this section is all about.

I know that I am repeating myself but it’s so important to remind yourself that we are all different. This means our menopausal symptoms can last anything from a few months to over 10 years. Your friend may be telling you that she has suffered with hot flushes for years, but it doesn’t mean you are going to! Especially if you take some control and work to lessen the pesky things!

What are the most common symptoms?

If you’ve already read up on menopause symptoms you are likely to find a list of at least 34 possibilities!

However we can identify the most common symptoms experienced by around 85% of women which are:

  • Vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weight gain
  • Low mood
  • Brain fog
  • Lower libido
  • Vaginal dryness

Once you are post-menopausal your symptoms tend to ease off but some women report that they still suffer with them. This is likely to be because there are imbalances in your body. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s down to your hormones. If you haven’t yet made any changes then there is still work to be done. To create a healthier and therefore happier YOU, we really need to continue with the habits we create.

There is so much discussion to be had regarding the best way to improve symptoms you may be experiencing. The most important reminder I can give you is that we are all individuals and we will all need to find our own way to deal with how we feel. I cannot give you a magic solution (I would be very wealthy if I could!!)

We should try and avoid being drawn in by clever marketing of products and programs that make promises. “You will lose weight, look younger, banish your symptoms, sleep better and be stress free” as long as you follow the advice to the letter.

I just don’t buy this approach. Why? Well, I’ve personally seen hundreds of women doing exactly that and then being extremely disappointed when they don’t see long lasting results. And they have usually spent a fortune in the process.

This is not what this program is about, there are no wild claims. We work together to find the answers that you are looking for.
So what is the answer?

If I could wave a magic wand and make your menopausal symptoms vanish I would!

Sadly it’s not that easy!

We have to work hard for what we want in life; this is no exception! You may need to experiment or seek advice from a specialist but one thing is for sure, just making some simple, actionable changes and creating better habits can help enormously.

Throughout this program I will guide you to think about making changes that can help with symptoms you may be experiencing. These centre around EXERCISE, NUTRITION STRESS MANAGEMENT and SLEEP. Once you explore these avenues, and make changes, you may just find that you have a natural reduction in menopausal symptoms. This in turn will help you to feel, and live, better.

In the following sections I have also provided some information regarding alternative and complimentary methods for helping with menopausal symptoms.

What about HRT?

I am not a medical specialist so can only pass on limited information regarding the use of HRT.

I fully support the use of HRT if it is needed and you have tried everything you can to alleviate your troublesome symptoms. However, even if you decide to go down the HRT route you still need to do the necessary work to improve your habits or lifestyle to help you stay as healthy as possible.

You can seek help from your NHS provider or choose to see a specialist privately but everything you choose to do should be driven by gaining as much information as you can and then deciding what is best for YOU. I am not in agreement with anyone being given medication without a full consultation, thorough discussion and careful consideration. That includes the offering of antidepressants and pain killers which I know are regularly suggested to women showing certain menopausal symptoms.

I cannot comment on what type of HRT you should take, as this should be discussed with your health provider.

Whatever route you choose to take, having support is going to make the world of difference. It is best to be open and honest with those nearest and dearest or who you live with and to let them understand how you feel and how they can help.
I saw a brilliant sketch of a menopausal Mum with her teenage daughter where Mum was ranting at her daughter whilst ripping off her jacket because the daughter had provoked an argument which had created stress, promoting a huge hot flush. Daughter asks Mum why she is such a moody cow…..BOOM!!!! she got it with both barrels from her Mum whilst she stood mouth open, eyes wide!
This reminded me that maybe some conversations need to be had!!

Seek support, even if you think you won’t be understood (and in fairness how could any man understand what us women have to go through?!) and remember, Men have midlife crisis’s too!!!

So, let’s find a way to help you to find some solutions in reducing any menopause symptoms you may be getting.